Over 10 Supplements to Survive the Cold & Flu Season
We've asked one of our Healthy Living Advisors to share their secrets for getting through the cold and flu season! Read on for tips from Lori Sutherland, RNCP, CHN, CNPA, and Healthy Living Advisor at our Upper Gage location.
The cooler days are slowly creeping in, and the brisk Canadian weather usually brings the dreaded cold and flu season. As you continue through this season and into the new year, keep yourself and your immune system ready. The best treatment is prevention! Keep yourself healthy all year round by eating well, staying active, keeping stress in check by strengthening your adrenal glands, and keeping your immune system strong and modulated. There are some key ways to maintain all of these items, which I’ll discuss below. Always remember to check with a trusted health care practitioner before starting a new supplement if you have any serious health issues or are on medication.
First, let’s talk about your adrenal glands, which are two walnut-sized glands that control your stress response. When your adrenals are maxed out, your immune system weakens, leaving you vulnerable to viruses. Some supplements used to nourish and support adrenal function are a good, bioavailable B complex vitamin like AOR Advanced B Complex or New Roots Ultra B Complex.
Magnesium is another ingredient important for stress and for over 325 other things in the body! Due to mineral depletion in our soil, among other factors, most of us need more of this powerhouse nutrient than what we're getting! To increase your intake, try an absorbable supplement like Magnesium Bisglycinate (I like the Trophic brand in veggie capsules). Also use supportive adaptogenic herbs, like in Natural Factors Serenity Formula or Himalaya StressCare, as well as adrenal glandulars like in AOR Ortho Adapt and Genestra TADS.
Once you have your adrenals in check, help keep your immune system strong with some superfoods and supplements. If you have an auto immune disorder be sure not to take immune boosters. When the immune system is over active you need a modulator like plant sterolins to keep things in balance.
My absolute favorite supplement for the immune system is mushrooms! Immune 7 by Purica is an outstanding Immune-Enhancing Support blend of extracts from six medicinal mushrooms and Nutricol - a proprietary blend of super strength antioxidants. The beneficial components of this high quality formulation have been shown in numerous studies to significantly strengthen the immune system. A robust immune system is instrumental in overcoming “dis-ease” and promoting optimal health. Immune 7 is a safe, potent dietary food supplement that improves overall immune performance and has proven beneficial in combination with mainstream invasive treatments.
To kill off colds, flus, bacterial and viral infections, try Oil of Oregano by North American Herb & Spice. North American Herb & Spice was the first company to introduce edible oil of oregano to the North American market. They are the oregano experts! To be edible, this essential oil must be made only from wild, mountain-grown Mediterranean oregano, free of all chemicals and pesticides. It also must be emulsified in carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil.
Oreganol P73 is a specific blend of several high-grade medicinal wild oreganos. Polyphenol content is a reliable indicator of high-quality oregano oil, carvacrol being the most publicized. But carvacrol is not the only indicator of high-quality oregano, since the plant produces over 50 known-to-date substances which may work synergistically.
An easy way to use oil of oregano on kids is to put a few drops on the soles of their feet before bed. Put on thick socks and they’ll take it through the skin, bypassing the digestive system and its spiciness.
Also try Botanica Super Astragalus Liquid Phytocaps. They are specially designed to provide deep-level immune support while assisting the body in adapting to daily stress. The herbs in this formula work together to encourage overall immune system health, stamina, and endurance to physical and emotional stress.
70% of your immune system is in your gut, so we need good bacteria to keep the immune system healthy! Try incorporating more fermented foods to promote good bacteria like sauerkraut and kimchee. Or, drink kombucha or Bio-K. One product I prefer is Dr. Ohhira’s Probiotics by Botanica. It combines ancient Japanese fermentation skills and modern science to create a powerful formula that changes the gastrointestinal tract environment to benefit healthful strains and discourage the bad. Twelve carefully selected strains are used in a 3-year fermentation process to maximize health-giving properties and to foster the strongest bacteria.
Another tried and true product is Deep Immune by St. Francis Herb Farm Inc. This formula is used in herbal medicine to help maintain a healthy immune system, used as an anti-viral and as a tonic to relieve general debility. It has a strengthening effect on our body’s “deep immune” system, nourishing its very bone marrow and enabling it to produce more immune reserves.
Another herbal formulation is Immune Support by one of my favorite companies AOR. This formulation uses Andrographis paniculata which posses anti-inflammatory, fever reducing, anti-viral, immune system stimulating properties.
Don’t forget the importance of getting enough Vitamin C! A great source of food vitamin c is the Camu Camu (Myrciaria Dubia). It is a low-growing shrub found throughout the Amazon Rainforest, mainly in swampy or flooded areas. The plants bear round orange-coloured fruit which have recently attracted world-wide attention. For years the scientific community has known that camu camu berries provide the richest and most bio-available source of vitamin C on the planet. However, their availability has been significantly limited as they grow only in remote, hard-to-reach areas of the Amazon Rainforest. Luckily, Organic Traditions is now able to offer you a 100% natural camu camu berry concentrate powder standardized to 20% naturally occurring vitamin C. Try it in a smoothie!
Or, if you’re looking for a supplemental vitamin C, try Ester-C by Sisu. Ester-C is a unique and patented form of Calcium Ascorbate, which is created when ascorbic acid (vitamin C) is buffered with calcium. Ester-C takes Calcium ascorbate and, using a proprietary, water-based manufacturing process, produces a pH neutral product that contains active Vitamin C metabolites (that do not exist in any other form of Vitamin C, including Calcium ascorbate). These natural metabolites provide quick absorption. Ester-C also functions biologically like other forms of Vitamin C, providing benefits for immune system wellness among many other things.
Studies have shown vitamin D also supports the immune system. Getting enough vitamin D is a challenge, especially in northern climates like ours. I prefer a liquid vitamin D supplement. Available in Orange, Raspberry, Lemon and Cinnamon, Delicious D by Platinum is a convenient, naturally flavoured, additive-free way for adults to get up to 1,000 IU of vitamin D3 and infants and kids to get 400 IU of vitamin D3 every day! I just put a few drops on my hand and lick them off…super easy and effective! Don’t forget to use homeopathy and tissue salts! My go to flu remedy is Oscillococcinum by Boiron. It relieves flu-like symptoms such as feeling run down, headache, body aches, chills and fever. It can reduce the severity and duration of your illness. It’s available for adults and children. The best tissue salts for colds are Ferrum Phos (#4) to treat throbbing headaches, congestion, sore throat, runny nose and coughs; Kali Mur (#5) to treat wheezing, aches, sinusitis and frequent common colds; and Kali Sulph (#7) to relieve symptoms of a blocked nose and a sinus headache. If flu symptoms are present, also add Silicea (#12).
And, finally, some natural home remedies to help you feel better quickly include:
- Eucalyptus oil in a diffuser to help clear sinuses
- Ginger root in a hot water; drink for sinus relief and to soothe a sore tummy
- Coconut water to replenish lost electrolytes and to keep hydrated when experiencing vomiting and diarrhea
- Homemade bone broth for nourishment and comfort when you’re feeling under the weather
- Manuka honey in herbal tea for a sweet, anti viral treat
- Gargling with Slippery Elm powder to soothe and heal a sore throat or use lozenges available by Trophic